Gandhi and his wife Kasturba, 1902
Soon after Gandhiji’s return from South Africa, a meeting of the Congress was held in Bombay. Kaka Saheb Kalelkar went there to help.
One day Kaka Saheb found Gandhiji anxiously searching around his desk. “What’s the matter? What are you looking for?” Kaka Saheb asked. “I’ve lost my pencil,” Gandhiji answered. “It was only so big.”
Kaka Saheb was upset to see Gandhiji wasting time and worrying about a little pencil. He took out his pencil and offered it to him. “No, no, I want my own little pencil,” Gandhiji insisted like a stubborn child.
“Well, use it for the time being,” said Kaka Saheb. “I’ll find your pencil later. Don’t waste time looking for it now.”
“You don’t understand. That little pencil is very precious to me,” Gandhiji insisted. “Natesan’s little son gave it to me in Madras. He gave it with so much love and affection. I cannot bear to lose it.”
Kaka Saheb didn’t argue any more. He joined Gandhiji in the search. At last they found it-a tiny piece, barely two inches long. But Gandhiji was delighted to get it back. To him it was no ordinary pencil. It was the token of a child’s love and to Gandhiji a child’s love was very precious.
By Uma Shankar Joshi